This is really simple but delicious dish. The fish is steamed in an aluminum foil wrapping together with vegetables, so all the umami from the fish is put in good use. What is great about this dish is that there will be no pots and pans to wash afterwards!
Foil-Steamed Salmon with Miso-Mayonnaise Sauce (for 2 persons)
2 fillets of salmon
1 1/2 tbs mayonnaise
1/2 tsp miso paste
3 cm of carrot
1/2 pack shimeji mushrooms
4 snow peas
1) Peel the carrot and cut in 6 slices. If you want, you can carve them to flower shape. Warm in microwave (500 W) for 1 min.
2) String the snow peas and boil quickly. Cool down and cut in half diagonally.
3) Cut off the stalk of the shimeji mushrooms and rip in smaller bunches by hand.
4) Cut the onion to thin slices. Take 2 pieces of foil, and put the onion slices on them.
5) Mix the mayonnaise and miso well. Put the salmon fillets on the onion slices, and brush the sauce on the fish.
6) Place the shimeji and carrot slices next to the fish. Close the foil partly.
7) Bake in 250°C oven for 20-23 mins. If the miso sauce seems to get too dark, close the foil.
8) Garnish with show peas and serve with rice and miso soup.
I had time, so I made a whole menu using autumn vegetables. Satsumaimo (sweet potato) rice, abura-age and green pepper nimono, cherry tomatoes & shunkiku (edible chrysanthemum) with white tofu-peanut sauce, and miso soup.
In Japan, autumn is said to be good for sports, reading, and eating good food. 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki) means exactly the last, and implies all the delicious vegetables and fish that are at their best in autumn.
鯖 (saba), or mackerel, is one of the ingredients that are delicious in the autumn. The only problem with saba is that as it is quite oily fish, the food easily ends up smelling “fishy” if the preparations are not made well.
Roasted Mackerel Sushi (for 2 persons)
2 fillets of mackerel
300 g warm rice
20 cc (rice) vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
10 perilla leaves
1 tsp white sesame seeds
(Pickled ginger, gari, if you like it)
1) Scrape off scales of the mackerel if needed. Take the backbone out, and cut off the bony parts in the belly as well as fins, if still attached.
2) Wipe the fillets with a kitchen paper, add 4 to 5 diagonal cuts to the skin side of the fillets, and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 10 mins. Wipe off the moisture with kitchen paper.
3) Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt well.
4) Cut the perilla leaves into thin stripes.
5) Put the mackerel fillets with the skin side up on a oven pan covered with cooking paper. Sprinkle with some salt, and roast in 200 degree oven for 15 mins.
6) Put the warm rice in a big bowl, add the vinegar mix with slow circling motion. Mix with a rice ladle like you were cutting something. This is to prevent the rice to get smashed. Mix until the rice is not watery anymore, and gets a nice gloss.
7) Add perilla leave strips and sesame seeds in two sets while mixing well.
8) Divide the rice to two, and put them on two pieces of wrap film. Use the film to make two even sized sticks.
9) Put the mackerel fillets on two pieces of wrap, this time the skin side down to the table. Put a thin layer of gari on the fish, if you want to use it. Instead of gari, you can spread some wasabi paste on the fish. Place the rice stick on the top, and adjust the form with the wrap.
10) Cut into 3 cm pieces and serve.
Today is 中秋の名月 (chushu no meigetsu), Harvest Moon, time to celebrate this year’s crops. It’s also called 月見 (tsukimi), the Moon festival, as since Heian period Japanese people have enjoyed watching the full moon that is said to be at its best at this time of year. Maybe not so much about the moon itself, but the temperature starts to be nice after the hot summer, without being too cold yet.
Sadly it’s raining today, and I had to concentrate on celebrating the crops instead of the moon. Well, I might have done that even it wasn’t raining. 花より団子 (hana yori dango), or 月より団子, to be correct.
Though my “crops” weren’t quite traditional, as I wanted to try out this delicious looking recipe.
Avocado & Shirasu Donburi (for 2 persons)
2 bowls of rice
1/2 tsp lemon juice
50 g shirasu (whitebait)
4 perilla leaves
Some shredded nori
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp wasabi
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Some white sesame seeds for garnishing
1) Mix the soy sauce, wasabi and sesame oil to make dressing.
2) Cut the avocado in half, take out the stone and cut to bite-sized. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent color changing.
3) Cut the perilla leaves to thin strips.
4) Put the warm rice in 2 bowls, cover with shredded nori. Put 1/4 of the avocado chunks to each bowl, and top with whitebait. Add the rest of the avocado, top with perilla strips, and garnish with sesame seeds.
5) Pour the dressing on the dish just before eating.
Tip: Instead of wasabi, you can try yuzukosho to get a bit spicier version. Then leave the sesame oil out.
For tsukimi, it is traditional to eat taro, so this time I had my taro in a form of a rabbit confectionery. It was almost too cute to eat…
I had felt a vague pain in my back teeth for a week, and went to see a dentist. As I had suspected, the wisdom tooth was to blame, so after a short consultation I decided to get it extracted. All went well, and it wasn’t even very painful, but of course I couldn’t eat normal food for a couple of days.
Thus I decided to make ojiya, rice gruel, which is often served to kids and elderly when they are sick. Also during the winter, the rest of nabe – or hot-pot – dish can be made to ojiya to utilize all the tasty stock that otherwise tends to end up down the drain.
Easy Rice Gruel Seasoned with Miso (for 1 person)
1 tsp granuled dashi
1 bowl of (brown) rice
1/2 tbs miso
Some shiokombu or nori for topping
1) If you use refrigerated rice, warm it in microwave. I use brown rice, but for example for elderly person or a person with stomach problems white rice is easier to digest.
2) Put the water and dashi granules in a pot. Add also rice and mix lightly so that rice grains won’t stick to each other any more. Turn the heat on and bring to boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
3) Turn the heat off and dissolve miso in the mixture. Mix and turn the heat on again to low heat.
4) Add beaten egg slowly in circles, turn off the heat and put a lid on. When the egg is half-cooked, move to serving bowl.
5) Garnish with shiokombu or nori seaweed.
Tip: You can also add vegetables to gruel. Spinach, japanese pumpkin, and leek for example are nourishing and easy to eat when cooked soft. Also shrimps go well as topping.
Lately it’s been so hot and humid in Tokyo that I wanted to have something light and refreshing for dinner. I decided on nambanzuke, fish in sweet vinegar sauce. This time I used salmon – or shake in Japanese – but other fish like horse mackerel or sardine can be used too.
Sake no nambanzuke (for 2 persons)
200 g salmon fillet
hint of salt
hint of white pepper
1 tsp sake
1 tbs plain flour
Oil for frying
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil
Sweet vinegar sauce:
100 cc dashi stock
60 cc (rice) vinegar
2 tsp Japanese soy sace
1 tbs sugar
1/8 cut of lemon thinly sliced
10 rings of dried red chili
1) Make the sauce first. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan and bring to boil. When the sugar has totally dissolved, turn off the heat and let cool down.
2) Take the seeds out of the peppers and slice thinly (vertically). Peel the onion and make thin slices vertically.
3) Cut the salmon diagonally to bite-sized, equally thick pieces. Move them on a tray, sprinkle both sides with salt & white pepper, and pour 1 tsp of sake on them. Let them marinade while preparing the vegetables.
4) Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan and fry onions until they become transparent. Add the sliced peppers and fry quickly. Move the vegetables into the sauce made in point 1).
5) Wipe excess moisture off from the fish, and sprinkle with plain flour. Pour around 5 mm of vegetable oil to the frying pan and turn the heat on. When oil is around 160 degrees, add the salmon pieces. Fry until light brown, then turn and fry the other side as well (together around 5 mins with low heat). Take of the pan and put on tray spread with kitchen paper.
6) Move the fish to the vegetable and vinegar sauce, mix carefully and move to fridge. Let marinade around 2 hours before eating.
7) Garnish with radish sprouts etc.
June brings the rainy season to Japan, and it’s raining almost everyday. With the temperature around 25 degrees it makes the season very exhausting.
This dish is served cold, so it feels refreshing even in the hot summer days.
Marinated Salmon & Avocado Donburi (for 2 persons)
150g salmon for sashimi
1 ripe avocado (+ lemon juice)
4 perilla leaves
4 cherry tomatoes
2 tbs Japanese soy sauce
2 tbs sake
1 tbs mirin
A hint of wasabi
2 portions of rice
1) Put the soy sauce, sake and mirin in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer until the smell of alcohol is gone. Let the tare cool down.
2) Cut the salmon in bite-sized cubes and mix with cold tare. Let pickle for 20 minutes.
3) Cut the perilla leaves in paper thin slices and halve the tomatoes.
4) Peel the avocado and cut in bite-sized cubes. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the change of colour.
5) Add some wasabi to the tare where salmon is, and add the avocado. Let pickle for another 5 minutes.
6) Put the rice into 2 bowls, sprinkle perilla leave strips on the rice. Put the salmon & avocado mix on the rice, and pour some tare on. Decorate with halved tomatoes and some perilla strips.
This dish can be made with maguro, bluefin tuna, or other fish suitable for eaten as raw.
I use brown rice for more nutritious meal, but white rice is fine too.
Green pepper steak, or chinjaoroosu in Japanese, can be arranged according to what you have in your fridge. This time I had some leftover shiitake mushrooms, so I threw them in, and ended up with nice bento lunch for work. Lately I have started experimenting with brown rice, and replacing half of the portion with it seems to work well.
Chinjaoroosu (for 2 persons)
100g beef steak
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sake
hint of salt
hint of white pepper
1 tsp potato starch
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
2 green bell peppers
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 shiitake mushrooms
1 cm piece of ginger
1 garlic glove
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sake
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp oyster sauce
hint of chicken broth powder
1 tbs water
1/2 tsp potato starch
1) Rinse the peppers and take the seeds out. Cut in 1/2cm thick slices.
2) Take out the stems of shiitake mushrooms and cut the caps into thin slices.
3) Peel and mince the ginger and garlic.
4) Peel the onion and cut to half. Mince the other half as small as possible and cut the other half to 1cm slices.
5) Cut the beef to 1/2 cm slices.
6) Mix 1/2 tsp of soy sauce, 1/2 tsp of sake, and salt & pepper. Marinade the beef in the mixture about 10 mins.
7) Mix the ingredients of tare sauce.
8) Add the egg, potato starch and 1/2 tsp of oil to the meat slices and mix well.
9) Put 1 tsp of oil to a frying pan and fry the beef over high heat about 2 mins. Remove form the pan.
10) Put 1 tsp of oil to the frying pan and add minces onion, garlic and ginger. Fry over low heat until the aromas come out.
11) Add sliced onions and fry quickly. Add the peppers and mix well. Add the shiitake and fry quickly over high heat.
12) Add the beef and tare, mix well.
13) Turn off the heat and pour 1/2 tsp of sesame oil to give nice aroma.